Short Reads

*Note: All works are pure fiction written for amusement. Any similarities with real life, real people, real events and real scenarios, or any other works of fiction are purely coincidental.

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Respite – Kanti and Enlil

By Mark Figueroa “Some weather,” the bartender said, rubbing a glass. He smoked his hanging joint and exhaled into the overhead fan. His rabbit ear quivered in the lighting. “What brings you in?” The blue-skinned stranger sat. He took a sip of his drink…

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The Gyre in the Doldrums

By Mark Figueroa A tower stuck out of the ocean, piercing the clouds. The tower was seen by few and discussed by even fewer. It extended into the sky like a chimney from beneath the sea. Clouds in the distance pressed against an invisible…

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Heartlands: MartytraM

“Just imagine an American-based, Christian Organization planning to poison water supplies to bring the second-coming quicker.” – Lupe Fiasco, American Terrorist. Marty paced around his bedroom. His hands were raw from the frequent button-mashing, keyboard-clacking and furious masturbation. He was normal. Marty grew up…

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By the Lake

“You’re late, Lars!” Earnest slams a heavy potato sack into the still waters of the lake. His dry, sunken eyes are red at the edges. “I—I didn’t think—” “Aye, laddy, you don’t think at all, did’ya?” Lars removes his horned, iron helm and runs…

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Kanti’s Razor

The story, all names, characters, and incidents portrayed in this production are fictitious. No identification with actual persons (living or deceased), places, buildings, and products is intended or should be inferred. No person or entity associated with this film received payment or anything of…

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The Fountain of Truth

by Mark Figueroa “So what happened next, dad?” The children asked in unison, clutching their sheets in anticipation. “Well, kids,” Antalaus said, resuming his story. “Lars nodded at me. ‘Then, we crush the heads an’ scoop the remainin’ soft meat from the bone,’ he…

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Idle Idols: Part 2

Samantha stumbled to her feet. She rubbed her eyes and nose in the dark. Still in shock, Samantha coughed and sneezed. Then, reality sunk in. Sam felt around for her daughter. She shuddered. Her hands shivered. Samantha called her daughter’s name, only silence whispered…

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Idle Idols: Part 1

By Mark Figueroa It was Thursday. The last Thursday in February. It was cold, cloudy and windy. Fred sat in his car, watching Samantha. She held her son Robert and struggled to close the door behind her. Fred sighed. Samantha gave him the finger.…

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The Man on the Tracks

by Mark Figueroa | Art by A Forgotten Pen at @theforgottenpen There’s a platform at the edge of my quiet, little town.  The train shows up at 2:34 AM on peculiar nights, or so they say. To date, several people have gone missing, but no one…

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The Birth of Ted

by Mark Figueroa | Art by A Forgotten Pen at @theforgottenpen Have you heard of the little man?  He’s a little, mischievous old man who likes to cause innocent mayhem. He likes to find lonely people, especially children, and become their friend. Forever. When I was…

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Borrowed Time

Written by: Mark Figueroa Frank N. Cadence was stressed. His meter was running low. The liquid in the glass vial flickered. His heart skipped with each belch in the phial. He could hear the rhythm of his soul catching up to his age. Long…

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The Tank

by Mark Figueroa | Art by A Forgotten Pen at @theforgottenpen “The container with her food is sealed in a box next to her tank,” Ernst said, putting on his jacket. “Just pour like five of them in. They’ll hop around, scurry about and try to…

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Hands

by Mark Figueroa | Art by A Forgotten Pen at @theforgottenpen The following are sound clips from a voice diary found by Service de police de la Ville de Montréal (or the Montreal Police Force). The victim was a woman suffering from night terrors, emotional and…

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Shattered Glass

Water exhales a breath of fog into the bay. From the top of the lighthouse, Glass stares off into the distance, illuminating sleeping sailors of bone and ash. For centuries, they had been preserved over their frozen vessels; how and when they reached the…

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Heartlands: Snow White

By: Mark Figueroa | Twitter: @anthony_abyss The Heartland, a large county in North Western Jersey, is composed of several small suburbs and tranquil towns, like the illustrious snow-covered Thatcher Township, and peaceful Harwaven. Unknown to the inhabitants of Heartland County, there are many wonders…

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The ‘O’ Juice

Vergil sits in his living twirling his empty ice-filled glass. He sighs. “One more. Just one more sip.” He reclines in favorite chair. Stained, tattered cloth worn at the edges and faded from years of urine, drug abuse and the sporadic romances Vergil often…

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Heartlands: Moment of Clarity

By: Mark Figueroa | Twitter: @anthony_abyss The Heartland, a large county in North Western Jersey, is composed of several small suburbs and tranquil towns, like the illustrious snow-covered Thatcher Township, and peaceful Harwaven. Rich in culture and diversity, and best known for its oddities,…

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The Seamstress in Twilight

Solange bade to Allen with a flick of her wrist, beckoning him from the abysmal plains of his own melancholic making. Since the death of his wife and daughter, he yearned to end the cycle of his self-perpetuated, suffocating solitude; however, despite his devouring…

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Heartlands: Pursuing the trail

The man on the tracks | Picking up the tracks | Adhesion Coefficient Trees rustle under the sunset. Jay enjoys a cold beer, while Erin sips on a Long Island Iced Tea with fairy spit. She looks at Jay, picturing him old, frail and…

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The Creature

They say there’s a creature more terrifying than the monsters tucked away in the dark recesses of our minds. Stealing the souls of those who wander for their own sustenance, the creature is the bane of every Voidal denizen’s being; a repulsive, repugnant ne’er-do-weller…

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Heartlands: Virtual Insanity

Lars fogs up his silver, rock-shaped flask. He polishes the chromatic surface and sighs. “First the godsdamned bottle I left in Scotland, then the laddie with nay a constitution. Oy, I reckon kids ta’day’re as complicated as human will ever be, I s’pose. En’t…

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Heartlands: Changes

It’s a warm Summer evening in Harwaven. Shawn stumbles out of his room, tipsy from a sip of a mysterious prismatic liquid. He grabs a light hoodie and shimmies his way out the door in cargo shorts and Vans, fidgeting with the bottle in…

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The Turning Tide of Tilda Làvois

Related: No Need to Write You a Love Song | HP: High Value Target | Dinner with Friends Matilda Làvois, or Tilda, as she was called, ran through another urine-soaked, vomit-scented, fluid-stained alley on a broken, brick road in Paris. Born in winter 1692,…

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Heartlands: End of a Season

Amanda skips rocks over the lake. Her father, Wes, sips his beer, then shakes his line. “That was weird. That Harwaven Roe,” Amanda says, staring into the distance. She grabs another handful of pebbles and watches birds glide through the trees. “I don’t ever…

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HP: Another Day at the Office

(Dinner with Friends | High Value Target) “So, what do we know so far?” Howard asks, squeezing a red rubber ball in Philip’s side of their office. Philip examines a wall with Kalcyphir’s picture in the center and shoves his hands in his pockets,…

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No Need to Write You A love Song

High beams passed along the Riverside highway, shimmering in brilliant beauty, illuminating the pavement. Waves crashing under the evening sky created a steady rhythm resembling soft chatter. Kalcyphir leaned over the rail, staring into the Hudson. He examined the abyss for his own reflection,…

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The Apparition in the Cellar

For months, the mice, roaches and rats have kept me company. I’ve learned to floss with an amalgamation of rodent hair and critter legs in order to keep them from chewing through my face at night. It was on the eve of Hallowed Saints…

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The Kiln of Knavili

[Dinner with Friends | HP: High Value Target] “Dammit, Aldguin, you always do this,” Kalcyphir shouts, pounding on door. “It’s 1985. You can cancel plans with a phone call.” He leans against the door and presses his ear below the peephole. Nothing. Kalcyphir knocks…

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Heartlands: The Adhesion Coefficient (μ)

The ratio between vertical load (weight/mass) and adhesion force (the point at which to unlike things attract). It’s Valentine’s Day afternoon. Marianne and Walter Sr. visit Walter’s childhood friend, Jason Pannetti. They have a nice brunch courtesy of Erin. The couples discuss the goings…

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Heartlands: Picking Up the Tracks

by Mark Figueroa | Featured Art by A Forgotten Pen at @theforgottenpen Walter Schreren Jr.’s (or Junior as his family calls him) screams wakes his parents. Another evening of consoling him before sunrise. For the past 2 years, every 3 days he’s had the same dream…

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HP: High Value Target

( Dinner with Friends ) Philip fumbles with his tie clasp, while Howard slouches over the rickety, wooden table, eating what could quite possibly be considered the worst hamburger ever made. Howard never asked for a partner, much less one so dull-witted and painfully…

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The Little Ones

By Mark Figueroa For years, the house on the edge of town has sat vacant. If you pass by it at night or early in the morning, you can hear the wind weep through its dilapidated, crumbling frame. Many years ago, the home belonged…

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Heartlands: Harwaven Roe

Wes sits on the docks, enjoying his crispy chicken cutlet sandwich. For decades, this would never have been possible in July, since winter used to begin in late April. It’s been just over a month since Harwaven Grove, a small town near Thatcher Township,…

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Dinner with friends

By Mark Figueroa Under the light blue sky, Aldguin strums his guitar at the bench by the fountain. Children giggle and chase each other through the trees, screaming “You’re it!” Clouds crawl through and around the bright sun. Leaning on Aldguin’s shoulder, Elles tosses…

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Heartlands: Snow in the Summer

By Mark Figueroa As schools prepare for summer, Professor Claudio Pannetti paces around his classroom. He stops at window overlooking the main road to the town. His crestfallen eyes skip over the snow-covered trees and the overcast horizon. He watches the snow drift along…

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Cat, Brush, Bottle

As the sun set on the horizon, Marnie brushed her hair while gazing at herself in the mirror. Since high school, Marnie had a morbid curiosity with death, the macabre and conspiracy. Her first blog was called “The Gael Gal”. She wrote about clandestine…

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The Lord of Cinder

by Mark Figueroa Her fingers brazenly smashed each key, until the silence receded into the corner of my mind. Darkness illuminated my soul as the scarlet path tore through the floor. Ash and sinew rode the explosive winds, enveloping the atmosphere. She smiled at…

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A Short Survey

by Mark Figueroa Franklin sits up on his therapist’s familiar leather couch. Despite years of use, its firm, sepia cushions appear brand new. The scent of honey and mothballs fills the air.  “We don’t have to keep doing this, Dr. Franklin,” Dr. Spruce says.…

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The Mythical Treaty (relevant excerpts)

(Condensed version) … for any creatures who cannot not pass as a human or surface dwelling creature. Those who can, under the Mythical Treaty as agreed upon by mankind and the Mantleans, upon entry to the surface, are required to posses a verifiable, valid…

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Mantlean History (Condensed)

When Earthen Man and Mantleans existed in a parent-child harmony, the Mantleans aided the evolution of man, gave the species speech, art, war, and concepts of governing. Mantleans freely traversed the planet and were welcome among the Earthen Men. Unfortunately, as man became more…

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By the Lake

“You’re late, Lars!” Earnest slams a heavy potato sack into the still waters of the lake. His dry, sunken eyes are red at the edges. “I—I didn’t think—” “Aye, laddy, you don’t think at all, did’ya?” Lars removes his horned, iron helm and runs…

Keep reading

The Fountain of Truth

by Mark Figueroa “So what happened next, dad?” The children asked in unison, clutching their sheets in anticipation. “Well, kids,” Antalaus said, resuming his story. “Lars nodded at me. ‘Then, we crush the heads an’ scoop the remainin’ soft meat from the bone,’ he…

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The Smoking Gun

by Mark Figueroa A twisted creature with backwards arms stretches its mouth open. Its head quivers as it stretches his face wider and wider. Cackles project from its throat like a witch circling victims on Halloween Night. The monster’s jaw cracks, snaps and breaks…

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The Man on the Tracks

by Mark Figueroa | Art by A Forgotten Pen at @theforgottenpen There’s a platform at the edge of my quiet, little town.  The train shows up at 2:34 AM on peculiar nights, or so they say. To date, several people have gone missing, but no one…

Keep reading

The Birth of Ted

by Mark Figueroa | Art by A Forgotten Pen at @theforgottenpen Have you heard of the little man?  He’s a little, mischievous old man who likes to cause innocent mayhem. He likes to find lonely people, especially children, and become their friend. Forever. When I was…

Keep reading

The Tank

by Mark Figueroa | Art by A Forgotten Pen at @theforgottenpen “The container with her food is sealed in a box next to her tank,” Ernst said, putting on his jacket. “Just pour like five of them in. They’ll hop around, scurry about and try to…

Keep reading

Hands

by Mark Figueroa | Art by A Forgotten Pen at @theforgottenpen The following are sound clips from a voice diary found by Service de police de la Ville de Montréal (or the Montreal Police Force). The victim was a woman suffering from night terrors, emotional and…

Keep reading

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